09/25/2014 10:49 am ET Updated Sep 25, 2014

Howard Fineman: College Greek Life Is 'Messy, Controversial And Often Disruptive'

This week has been an especially explosive one in the world of college Greek life. Photos of a wildly inappropriate sign at a Texas Tech University fraternity party surfaced online, Miss America addressed her sorority expulsion stemming from rumors of hazing and Clemson University suspended all fraternity activities after the death of a pledge.

As The Huffington Post's Editorial Director Howard Fineman explained on HuffPost Live on Wednesday, the world of Greek life today is very different than it was at its founding.

“That movement blossomed in the early 19th century, when colleges were all, for the most part, male, and these were kind of secret bonding societies,” Fineman said. “Believe it or not, there are intellectual roots to this, but it’s long since gone to be mostly an excuse for partying and for choosing your friends in a way that [is] not deliberately designed to hurt people, but does.”

Despite the U.S. becoming more ethnically diverse in recent years, the lack of diversity in the Greek system means it's "mostly still a white people's institution," Fineman noted.

“We're in a much more multicultural, multidimensional, multigender world now, in America, and indeed around the world,” he said. “And what used to be a sort of quaint and harmless institution has kind of turned into a messy, controversial and often disruptive one on college campuses.”

Learn more about the roots of college Greek life here.

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